this is not what i asked for.
Oh, hey- It's been a few months since I've had the energy to sit down and write. From multiple deaths in my family, to dealing with some major health issues I just didn't have the energy or mental stability to pour my heart out and process it in a positive way.
I just got home from a long weekend in NYC with a close friend, that I will share more about in another post. This trip was exactly what I needed, at exactly the right time; spending days pretending I was a healthy person. I've spent most of the past few days recovering and working--and it has also made me realize how much I've changed since my Arthritis diagnosis. My personality, body, and just mentally. I'm not who I used to be in any way shape or form. I think deep down my soul and the foundation of who I am is the same, but so much of me is different than the person I was in 2004.
It's not simple to say that most days I don't recognize me. This is not what I asked for, this disease, but sometimes life just slips in through a back door and carves out a person who isn't anything like you remember. If I'm honest, I would give it all back for a chance to start over and re-write my story for the girl that I once knew. I'd be reckless just enough, I'd get hurt, but learn how to toughen up when I got bruised and broken, to fight just a little and bring back the fire that used to be in my eyes.
I was loud and outgoing. I wasn't scared in social situations. I always wanted to be with my friends. I was the captain of my volleyball teams. I was a leader. I was strong. I walked with my head high. I laughed more than I cried.
I don't know where this person went, but somewhere after my freshman year of college, after my RA diagnosis I changed. I lost my fight. I lost my confidence and succumbed to the pain and major changes in my life plan. My life got flipped upside down. I spend most daystrying to find the will to get out of bed and pretend I'm a healthy person. This weekend traveling to NYC I did just that. Traveling across the country alone should have wiped me out. And I don't know if I was on adrenaline, but I managed okay. Every night my body hurt from walking 6 miles a day, but to run around NYC for 4 days straight and not completely be stuck in bed was short of a miracle. I spent the weekend eating yummy food, drinking expensive cocktails and fitting in with the crowd which I rarely do.
Ask my friends, I need days to rest up before I spend a Saturday night out, and another few days to recover after. I often turn down invitations unless I know who will be there. I constantly feel judged and afraid to be who I used to be. Only those close to me have seen glimmers of who I used to be before my RA diagnosis. I'm lucky to have people around me who understand and still accept this new version of me. I may not accept me, but at least they do.
This is not what I asked for, but it is the hand that I was dealt. People tell me I'm strong, but honestly I don't believe them. I wouldn't wish this disease on anyone. I would give anything for the version of me before I had this disease. The lack of energy, the doctor appointments that feel like full time jobs, the medical bills, the social anxiety and the stigma of being young with a chronic invisible illness. This is not what I thought my life would turn out like. It's lonely and hard, but here I am.
It's not easy to know that I'm not anything like I used to be, although it's true.